18 December 2006

It is official!!

I am officially a card carrying member of the French Tennis Federation! To take lessons here or to play on the local tennis courts, you must join. I was completely amazed when I received my official card in the mail. I have been taking lessons every Thursday night at 8:30 pm (20h30) at the courts down the street. Lately it has been just a little frosty cold, but after a good warm up it is barely noticeable...although playing with my gloves on changes my grip just slightly.

This last Thursday we had a mini tournament with all of the night lesson players. Our foursome in lessons had a great time playing each other. I have met some really nice new friends through this endeavor...There is Serge who likes to serve like the ball is on fire, Isabelle who is so petite but hits the ball with finesse and lastly ??? I still have not figured out his name, but he lives just one street over from us and is so sweet. I almost beat ??? and was successful slaying La Petite, and held my own with Serge until I lost all feeling in my fingers due to a mix of his hard shots and the icy cold at 9:30 pm and ended up losing the last two points! Actually I was so grateful to have ended up 1-2 because I then discovered that if we ended on top we had to move to the next level and play against the other group which was entirely made up of 17 to 20 year olds who were scarfing down pizzas and then slamming the ball down their opponents throats at breakneck speed while we over 40 somethings had naively been hammering at seven bottles of the local red colored water hoping to fend off the cold. We losers watched sympathetically as Serge courageously took a whooping during his opponent's pizza break.

I began the lessons to try an old hobby again, but ended up really having a great time. Sebastien, the pro, is such a fabulous and patient guy and loves to learn and practice his tennis English. I even taught him that his dog's name...Swan...is that beautiful, but dangerous bird in the canal. Evidently to the French it is just a name like Mary. We all have become great friends and we now are starting to play each other outside of lessons.

12 December 2006

It's that time of year!

This is Celia's favorite time of year! While listening to all of our favorite Christmas music, we watched her decorate the tree. Obviously we need to finish shopping for new ornaments to fill in! Celia and I are going decoration shopping this weekend. Our collection of ornaments missed the boat from California and must wait until another shipment comes our way.

The villages have all put up there lights and decorations and the Christmas markets have begun. We went into Montpellier last Sunday to take a nice long stroll as is typical of a Sunday here. Montpellier has all of the beautiful lights and decorations up. Each street has a different theme and decoration. The plazas were full of people walking, sipping chocolat chaud, noshing on crepes and peeking into the shop windows. The large Christmas market starts in Montpellier this weekend with artists and regional goodies all on display in cute little chalets lining the Place Comedie. Although we will miss spending Christmas with our families this year, we are looking forward to experiencing a true French Christmas.

Celia and I are beginning the massive cookie baking festival that will start tomorrow and continue through the end of next week. We have many wonderful and thoughtful neighbors to thank this year for their warmth and generosity. Nothing says "thank you" like a Christmas cookie!!

04 December 2006

Happy 13th Birthday Nathan!!

Nathan celebrated his entry into the teenage years with a sleepover. He had his great friends, Will and Mel sleep over. They played on Sims2, watched budding filmmaker Mel's newest releases and watched Ice Age 2. A great time and a bit of sleep was had by all...including Mom and Dad! Happy Birthday Nathan!!!!

Happy Thanksgiving!

We had a wonderful day sharing our Thanksgiving tradition with our friends here. We were 15 total...4 French, one Scottish, three British, and the rest American...really all Californians! I think our French neighbors were a bit overwhelmed that we eat all of the different foods on one plate...they thought the pumpkin pie very different! It is eaten very regularly here as a vegetable. I suppose it would be as if we had a broccoli cake served to us. They preferred Celia's lovely apple crisp to the pumpkin pie. We are so thankful to have our lives so rich in friends on both sides of the Atlantic. We hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Now on to Christmas!!